May 7th has come and gone, and with it another season of Regina Riot football has officially gotten under way. Let’s take a look back at what happened last weekend, as well as look forward at what challenges face the Riot over the upcoming weeks.
WEEK 1 RECAP
The Riot kicked off the regular season at home this past Sunday, when the visiting Manitoba Fearless visited Historic Mosaic Stadium. It was great day for football (they all are, aren’t they?) with a bit of wind being the only possible complaint. The Riot matched these great conditions with an even better performance, defeating the Fearless by a score of 41-0.
The day’s events began with a special tribute to Paige Mitchell, a former Riot player who passed away suddenly in the fall of 2016. In honour of her memory, team members who played with Paige presented the Mitchell family with Paige’s former game jersey. It was also announced that Paige’s #79 will be retired by the Riot going forward. It was a touching tribute, which also included a musical performance of one Paige’s favourite songs, “Hey Jude”.
Following the pre-game ceremony, the Riot took to the field for the first time in their new uniforms. Adding to the excitement of the new jerseys was the home crowd. “It was great for us to get out there and play in front of our home fans for the first time this year” said Head Coach Olivier Eddie following the game. “Seeing how large the crowd was and how involved they were with the game was a great positive for us. It means a lot to our athletes to see this kind of community support.”
It didn’t take long after the opening kickoff for the Riot to take the lead, one which they wouldn’t relinquish for the duration of the contest. “We started off very explosively and put points on the board fast” said Eddie. “It helped us control the game from the onset.”
Particularly impressive was the Riot defense, who posted a shutout in the victory. “We were relentless and really got after their Quarterback” said the first year Head Coach. “This allowed us to snag four interceptions. Anytime you play defense like that, good things are bound to happen.”
WEEK 2 PREVIEW
Next on the docket for the Riot is a trip to Saskatoon on Saturday, May 13th to challenge the defending WWCFL champion Saskatoon Valkyries. This is the first in a back-to-back series with the Riot’s fiercest rival, as the series will return to Regina for a rematch on Sunday, May 21st.
The Valkyries and Riot have become the premier western Canadian women’s football teams over the years, with Saskatoon in particular earning five WWCFL championships since the league’s inception. The Riot, meanwhile, have shown steady improvement over the past number of years, on the way to putting together their own championship season in 2015. Despite the disparity in championships, the series has been more even as of late, with a 3-3 split between the two teams over the past three seasons.
The Riot recognizes that these games with the Valkyries are important in playoff seeding, and plan to prepare accordingly. “We have a short week of practice this week, so it will be important for us to be diligent in order to be prepared for Saturday night.”
The action starts this Saturday, May 13th in Saskatoon at SMF Field. Kickoff time for the game is at 7:00pm.